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Full text of "My Country And My People"

WOMAN'S  LIFE                    161

Yti Ghenghsieh (1775-1840), all scholars of independent minds
and considerable influence. But the custom was not abolished
until the Christian missionaries led the crusade, a debt for
which Chinese women ought to be grateful. But in this the
missionaries have been fortunately helped by the force of
circumstances, for Chinese women have found in the modern
high-heeled shoes a tolerable substitute. They enhance the
women's figures, develop a mincing gait and create the illusion
that the feet are smaller than they really are. Li Liweng's
profound observation in his essays on the art of living is still
true: "I have seen feet of three inches without heeled shoes
and feet of four or five inches on heeled shoes stand on the
same place, and felt that the three-inch feet are bigger than the
four- or five-inch feet. Because with heels, the toes point down-
wards, the flat feet seem pointed, while without heels, the
jade bamboo-shoots [the toes] rise toward heaven, and pointed
feet look flat." Such profound observation on the details of an
idle life is always characteristic of the Chinese genius.

VIII. EMANCIPATION

The seclusion of women has now gone. It has gone so fast
that people who left China ten years ago find, on coming back,
a change in the whole physical and mental outlook of Chinese
girls so vast as to shake their most profound convictions. The
girls of the present generation differ in temperament, grace,
bearing and spirit of independence from the "modern" girls of
ten or twelve years ago. Myriad influences are at work, causing
this change. In general, they may be called the Western
influences.

Specifically they are: the change from monarchy to republic
in 1911, admitting sexual equality; the Renaissance started in
1916-17, headed by Dr. Hu Shih and Ch'en Tuhsiu, denouncing
the "chaste widowhood" of the "man-eating religion" (Con-
fucianism) and the double sex standard; the May Fourth
Movement or Student Movement of 1919, brought about by the
secret selling of China by the Allies at the Versailles Conference,
and precipitating the active part taken in politics by boy